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I’m not afraid to admit that in the 4 years since I first launched my website and business, I have spent my hard-earned cash on some really pointless programs because other bloggers, entrepreneurs and influencers told me I needed such and such to be successful. In the early days, it can be tricky to figure out what’s worth investing in and what can be ignored, especially when there is an army of influencers singing the praises of a platform or program.
Over the past 12 months, I’ve zoned out the noise and focused more on which platforms make it easier to run my business right now while I’m working solo but that’ll also be essential to continuing my success when I bring start building out my team. I’ve come to the conclusion that there are 3 essential programs, products or software that benefit all business owners to have, whether you are just starting out or are scaling your business to new heights.
New on the block and tight on the purse strings
If the idea of spending money on your business makes you winch, know that you are not alone. For the first few years that I was in ‘business’, I was very protective of the purse strings and would look for the cheapest option, utilizing free trials, coupon codes and affiliate links to ensure I was only spending the bare minimum.
I dread to think how much time I spent hunting the interweb for the latest offer, or canceling subscriptions to services because I didn’t want to waste my money. Instead I ended up wasting so much of the limited time I already had trying new things because they were a ‘better deal’. I thought I was being savvy and made myself a bit of a martyr for ‘bootstrapping’ my business.
Maybe you’re the same?
What I didn’t clock onto at the time was that while I may have been saving my money, I wasn’t protecting and utilizing a much more valuable commodity – my time. I was so distracted and exhausted by the admin of investigating the newest recommended platform, product or service that it would drain my creativity and stagnate any progress I was making. It was like my engine had been filled with the wrong fuel and was puttering along the road, stopping and starting for miles.
There’s a saying that business owners and entrepreneurs fall into two categories.
First, there are those who use their time to save money. These entrepreneurs spend hours creating graphics from scratch even though design may not be their forte or sit staring at a blank screen trying to write social captions for the week instead of hiring a copywriter.
Then, there are those who spend their money in order to save time. These entrepreneurs value their time for working on their zone of genius, and the things they love the most in business, above all others. They have no qualms about investing money into the right platforms or systems that will make their life’s easier and their business run smoother.
Just because you’re currently in one of two places does not mean that is where you will always be.
The Shift You Need To Be Successful
Like so many other female entrepreneurs, something shifted for me in 2021. I can’t tell you exactly when or why, but I realised I had been sabotaging my own path to success by trying to do all the things, all by myself. My strengths in my business lay in organization, written content creation, Pinterest (you can read more about how I make Pinterest work for me here) and working with clients 1:1.
While I can, and have done, my own web and graphic design, it takes me more energy and time as it’s not my expertise. It took months to fully accept that I needed help to be truly successful, to come to terms with the idea of investing in people as well as platforms and programs.
And while I’ve yet to hire my first employee, it is on the cards for the near future and a step I’m very excited about. Mostly, I’m excited to give up working solo. We don’t have to be martyrs in our business and do everything by ourselves.
Working with other people can help to amplify our success! While I’m going to be transitioning from working solo, there are 3 programs I will die on a hill for before cutting the payment strings.
3 Place You Can Invest Your Money To Be Successful
If you haven’t heard of my favourite Email service provider where have you been?! Flodesk turns 3 in 2022 and even though they are easily still the baby of the ESP world, they are making huge waves!
The brainchild of amazing powerhouses Martha Bitar and Rebecca Shostak, Flodesk is the small business solution to email marketing that makes creating emails fun, easy and beautiful – no need for a design team here!
I’ve been championing Flodesk to fellow entrepreneurs since I was introduced to them in May 2020.
At the time I was ‘using’ MailerLite. . . I.E. I was signed up to the free plan, had tried to create a landing page, got stuck, sent an email or two, and then gave up on the idea of ever-growing an email list. Why did it have to be so difficult?!
All I wanted to do was send emails, but the platforms I was using at the time made me want to throw my laptop out the window.
When a business buddy of mine told me they’d been using Flodesk to easily create and send their emails, I was intrigued. They were a graphic designer and had been sending stunning emails, so I just assumed it was their natural talent.
There was no way a design-lacking clutz like me would be able to make it work.
Low and behold, Flodesk delivered on every promise they made – clean, easy, intuitive, making it possible to send emails that look like I have a whole design team behind me!
And you really cannot argue with the price. At $38 a month, a flat rate regardless of your list size or sending numbers, they have made themselves some stiff competition for the old-timer email service providers.
Flodesk will be my ride or die, ‘everything-else-is-burning-to-the-ground-I-will-still-love-them’ company.
Running an online business means graphics. . . endless graphics. I’ve never been a designer. Art was just never my forte so the idea of making graphics for social media, blog posts, Pinterest and more initially filled me with dread.
For a long time, it would take me hours to create a handful of graphics whether it was my Instagram account, Pinterest or blog posts.
I struggled with colours, layouts, font choices, positioning – all sorts!
When I started using Canva’s organisational features everything started clicking into place. I had my brand colours, logo and brand fonts to hand whenever I needed them.
I use templates to help me be successful with my social media strategy! I can quickly apply relevant images and colours to my templates that let me cut my design time in half!
Although I have a library of my own stock photos that I’ve collected over the years, Canva Pro also provides access to hundreds of stock photos too! New features such as their background remover have also minimised my use of Photoshop because so much can be done in Canva instead!
Running a business is a true juggling act. I’ve spent so much time in project management software, using different planners and setting reminders or to-do lists that I know exactly what I like and why. And that is… ClickUp!
While Trello or Asana may be your preferred method of organising all the things you need to complete to run your business, this might little platform may just blow them out of the water!
ClickUp includes everything you would expect from a project management system while combining it with multiple other programs you may be using currently so that everything you need is in one place – together!
Board view allows me to plan out and tweak my social media strategy ahead of time! The endless functionality of custom fields means every task, list and folder is personalized to show specific information that I actually need!
It’s the powerhouse of my business and I would be truly lost without it!
The 1 Thing You Need to Give Up To Be Succesful
Have you guessed it yet? That’s right. If there is one thing that is holding you back from scaling and becoming the chillpreneur of your dreams it’s working alone.
2022 is the year I’ll be loosening the reigns on my business and outsourcing some of my workload. While it may ‘cost’ me to do this, the breathing space it will create is going to be invaluable.
If you’re close to burnout because you’re doing all the things yourself, it might be time for you to step out of your own way, acknowledge the fear you have of letting go of some of the control and hand off some of your business tasks to other people.
Taking this leap can be scary, but you don’t have to dive into the deep end straight away. You can take it as slow as you like.
The first things I’ll be outsourcing are the mundane time-sucking tasks that don’t need personal input from me, such as scheduling my content across platforms.
All great female entrepreneurs, CEO’s and founders know that they cannot be in 20 places at once, which why building out a solid team of hard-working and enthusiastic staff can help you from thinking you can be successful to a roaring success!
Spend a bit more money and save your time to be successful
I know how the idea of shelling out your hard-earned cash can cause a lump in your throat and a knot in your stomach, but if you really want to be successful and grow a sustainable business in 2022, investing in the right tools and people will be transformative.
If you’re ready to take the next step, but still feel confused, nervous or just need a bit of accountability, then why not book a free coaching consultation with me? Click here to find out more.